Psychologists from the UK & France gather at Staffordshire University to discuss the psychology of children’s healthy eating behaviours

By Dr Rachel Povey, Associate Professor in Health Psychology.

On 25th April 2018, the first of three research seminars on psychological perspectives on healthy eating in children was held at Staffordshire University. The seminars are funded by the British Psychological Society, and was organized by myself in collaboration with colleagues at Aston University (Professor Jackie Blissett and Dr Claire Farrow).  Psychologists from all over the UK and France attended and presented findings from their research.

The day opened with a stimulating talk by Dr Angel Chater (University of Bedfordshire) providing an insight into experiences of barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption among foodbank clients. This was followed in the morning by a wide range of thought-provoking talks which examined healthy eating in childhood from pre-school up to adolescence.  Presentations focused on different factors found to influence healthy eating in young children including genetic factors, exposure to different foods and parent-child interactions. Studies involving older children focused on peer influences and included interventions which used social media to change eating behaviour.

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The afternoon began with a fascinating presentation by Lisa Cowap (Staffordshire University) on a school-based intervention which used simple plans to improve snacking behaviour in primary school children. Following presentations described different ways of changing children’s eating behaviour, from using carefully-designed Apps, to creative techniques to get children more engaged with the food they eat. Finally, the day closed with an inspiring talk by Dr Sophie Nicklaus (French National Institute for Agricultural Research), on how to help children make healthy food choices by emphasizing pleasure.

Overall it was a fascinating and motivating day which provided an opportunity for psychologists researching children’s eating behaviour to network and share ideas. The next research seminar will take place in Autumn.

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Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research.

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